Ethiopia

Understanding the attitudes of communities to the social, economic and cultural importance of working donkeys in rural, peri-urban and urban areas of Ethiopia

Working donkeys (Equus africanus asinus) are vital to the development and support of people's livelihoods in rural, peri-urban, and urban areas of Ethiopia. However, despite their critical role in providing transport, food security, and income generation to some of the poorest and most marginalized households, donkey contributions to human livelihoods have been largely unexplored. Donkey users, veterinary surgeons, business owners, and civil servants were interviewed to investigate the role humans play in shaping donkey lives while furthering our understanding of the social and economic impacts of working donkeys to human lives. Findings are discussed through seven guiding themes; donkeys as generators of income, the relationship between donkeys and social status, donkeys and affect, empowerment through donkeys, the role of donkeys in reducing vulnerability and encouraging resilience, donkey husbandry, and gender dynamics all of which gave a broader and richer insight into the value of donkeys. Donkeys are an important support in rural, peri-urban, and urban settings through the creation of economic security, independence, and participation in local saving schemes. In addition, donkeys provide social status, empowerment to marginalized groups such as women and the very poor and provide a sense of companionship. Whether the interviewee was a donkey user or a key informant appeared to influence their views on donkeys and their welfare, as did their location. The variations in views and practices between urban and rural settings suggests that assessing the socioeconomic value of donkeys in different locations within the same area or country is critical, rather than assuming that similar views are held between compatriots. Despite their centrality to many people's lives in Ethiopia, working donkeys often hold lowly status, are misunderstood, and given little husbandry and healthcare.

Volume
7
Issue
60
Publication date
Research output

The prevalence of lameness and associated risk factors in cart mules in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia

Ethiopia has 7.1 million donkeys and mules, the majority of which are used as pack animals. Factors such as poor harness quality, long-distance traveling, and heavy cartloads have been linked to reduced work efficiency. Addressing the health and welfare of working equids is imperative not only for the animals but also for the households dependent upon them for livelihood. In developing countries, 75 % of working equids have gait or limb abnormalities, but the relationship between workload and prevalence of lameness is unknown. We examined 450 cart mules in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia. Lameness and workload were assessed through use of a survey and lameness exam. We found that 26.8 % of cart mules were lame, and acute lameness of the forelimb was the most common. Animals with poor harness quality were 2.5 times more likely to have sores and 1.6 times more likely to be lame. Lameness tended to be associated with cartloads >700 kg (P = 0.09), and there was a significant association between multiple-leg lameness and cartload weight (P = 0.03). The presence of sores was the best predictor of lameness (P = 0.001). Possible areas of intervention may include education to reduce average daily workload and improving harness design.

Volume
48
Issue
172
Start page
1483
End page
1489
Publication date
Country

The impact of access to animal health services on donkey health and livelihoods in Ethiopia

This study was carried out to assess the impact of animal healthcare services on poor donkey owners in Ethiopia. The services provided by the Donkey Sanctuary were used as a case study. A questionnaire survey was designed and carried out in the areas around Debre Zeit in the Highlands of Ethiopia. The staff carried out a survey at 10 sites. Six of these were in Donkey Sanctuary project areas and four were in control areas. The results showed that in project areas donkeys were significantly healthier and more productive than in non-project areas. Donkey owners in project sites felt better off for having access to animal healthcare services; donkey owners in non-project sites were less confident about their incomes and the health of their animals.

Volume
37
Issue
1
Publication date
Country

Seasonal variation of strongylosis in working donkeys of Ethiopia: a cross-sectional and longitudinal studies

Helminths are one of the major health problems of working donkeys, often with heavy worm burden and contributing to their early demise and/or reduction in their work output. Cross-sectional and longitudinal studies were conducted to investigate the current infection prevalence and level of strongyles infection donkeys would acquire through different seasons in the mid-lowland agro-ecological zones of Ethiopia. For this purpose, faecal samples from 206 (cross-sectional study) and 102 (longitudinal study) randomly selected donkeys were directly collected from the rectum and analysed. For the longitudinal study, the 102 donkeys dewormed at the end of main rainy season, beginning of October, were monitored for the level of strongyle infection they would acquire during subsequent dry and short rainy seasons. The cross-sectional study of 206 donkey has revealed an overall infection prevalence of 89.3% (95% confidence interval (CI) = 84.4, 92.9). Donkeys in the lowland zone showed a significantly higher strongyle infection prevalence (P = 0.0126) and mean eggs per gramme of faces (EPG) (P = 0.001; 2775 EPG) compared to donkeys in the midland zone (980.8 EPG). Age, sex and body condition did not have any significant effect on either the infection prevalence or level of infection (P > 0.05). The longitudinal study has shown a significantly lower strongyle infection prevalence (P = 0.003) and level of infection donkeys acquired (P = 0.001) in the subsequent dry and short rainy seasons compared to the main rainy season following October deworming. However, these values were not significantly different between the two agro-ecological zones (P > 0.05). This study clearly showed that parasitic infections are primarily acquired during the main rainy season when pasture/herbage coverage is relatively better, and the environment is conducive for parasites survival and development. On the other hand, the finding of majority of donkeys shedding low or no eggs during the dry and short rainy seasons showed that October deworming was effective, and donkeys acquire low or no parasitic infection during the subsequent dry and short rainy seasons. Therefore, the practice of anthelmintic treatment of donkeys at the end of short rain in May may not be necessary, and October deworming once a year is sufficient.

Volume
116
Issue
7
Start page
2009
End page
2015
Publication date
Country

Participatory study of medicinal plants used in the control of gastrointestinal parasites in donkeys in Eastern Shewa and Arsi zones of Oromia region, Ethiopia

Background

Gastrointestinal nematode infections constitute a threat to the health and welfare of donkeys worldwide. Their primary means of control is via anthelmintic treatments; however, use of these drugs has constraints in developing countries, including cost, limited availability, access to cheaper generic forms of variable quality and potential anthelmintic resistance. As an alternative, bioactive plants have been proposed as an option to treat and control gastrointestinal helminths in donkeys. This study aimed to use participatory methodology to explore donkey owner knowledge, attitudes and beliefs relating to the use of plant-based treatments for gastrointestinal parasites of donkeys in Ethiopia.

Results

In focus groups, 22/29 groups stated they knew of plants used for the treatment of gastrointestinal parasites in donkeys. All groups volunteered plants that were used in cattle and/or small ruminants. In total, 21 plants were named by participants. ‘Koso’ (Hagenia abyssinica) ‘Grawa’ (Vernonia amygdalina) and a mixed roots and leaves preparation were the most frequently named plant preparations. ‘Enkoko’ (Embelia shimperi) and ‘a mixture of roots and leaves’ were ranked highly for effectiveness in donkeys. However, ‘Grawa’ and ‘Koso’ were the highest ranked when taking into account both the rank position and the number of groups ranking the plant.

Thematic analysis of participants’ current attitudes and beliefs surrounding traditional plant-based remedies for gastrointestinal parasites revealed that anthelmintics obtained from clinics were generally favoured due to their ease of administration and perceived higher effectiveness. There was doubt surrounding the effectiveness of some plant-based treatments, but there were also perceived advantages including their low cost, ease of cultivation and availability. However, plant-based treatments were considered a “past trend” and people favoured “modern” medicine, particularly among the younger generation.

Conclusions

There was extensive knowledge of plant-based treatments for gastrointestinal parasites in livestock in Ethiopia. In donkeys, Koso (Hagenia abyssinica), Grawa (Vernonia amygdalina), Enkoko (Embelia shimperi) and ‘mixed roots and leaves’ were the most frequently named and/or highest ranked plants with reported efficacy against gastrointestinal parasites. Further in vitro and in vivo investigation of these plants is now required to determine viable alternatives for the treatment and control of gastrointestinal parasites in Ethiopia.

Volume
9
Issue
179
Start page
1
End page
12
Publication date
Country

Gastrointestinal parasites of working donkeys in Ethiopia

The general prevalence and population composition of gastrointestinal and pulmonary helminths of working donkeys were studied. For the purpose 2935 working donkeys were coprologically examined for nematode and cestode, and 215 donkeys for trematode infections. Seven donkeys that died due to various health problems or were euthanased on a welfare ground were necropsied and the parasites were recovered and identified to the species level. The study was conducted during the periods 1996-1999.

Coprological examination revealed 99% strongyle, 80% Fasciola, 51% Parascaris, 30% Gastrodiscus, 11% Strongyloides westeri, 8% cestodes and 2% Oxyuris equi infection prevalence. Over 55% of donkeys had more than 1000 eggs per gram of faeces (epg). Forty two different species of parasites consisting of 33 nematodes, 3 trematodes, 3 cestodes and 3 arthropod larvae were identified from postmortem examined donkeys. Among the nematodes 17 species of Cyathostominae and 7 species of Strongylinae were identified. Other parasites identified include, Habronema muscae, Draschia megastoma, Trichostrongylus axei, Strongyloides westeri, Anoplocephala perfoliata, Anoplocephala magna, Anoplocephaloides (Paranoplocephala) mamillana, Parascaris equorum, Fasciola hepatica, Fasciola gigantica, Gastrodiscus aegyptiacus, Dictyocaulus arnfieldi, Oxyuris equi, Probstmayria vivipara, Gasterophilus intestinalis, Gasterophilus nasalis, Rhinoestrus uzbekistanicus and Setaria equina. This study revealed that working donkeys in Ethiopia are infected with a range of helminths and arthropod larvae, which are representatives of the important pathogenic parasites found in equids worldwide.

Volume
4
Issue
1
Start page
1
End page
13
Publication date
Country

Gasterophilosis: a major cause of rectal prolapse in working donkeys in Ethiopia

A retrospective study was conducted to investigate the cause of rectal prolapse in working donkeys in Ethiopia. Analysis of data on rectal prolapse cases obtained from the Donkey Health and Welfare Project clinic at the School of Veterinary Medicine, Addis Ababa University, from 1995 to 2004 revealed that 83.6% (n=177) of the cases were associated with Gasterophilus nasalis. The rest 10.7% and 5.7% were associated with work-related (overloading) cause and diarrhoea, respectively. The mean and median numbers of G. nasalis recovered from the rectum of infected donkeys were 66 and 64, respectively, with a range of 2–195. Over 100 G. nasalis larvae were recovered from the rectum of 22% of the donkeys. Circular demarcated ulcer-like and deep circumferential pits or ring-like mucosal lesions were found at the larval attachment sites. G. nasalis infection and the associated rectal prolapse were observed year round. However, the intensity of rectal larval infection and incidence of rectal prolapse were significantly higher during the rainy season (P<0.01). Age and sex of the donkeys had no significant effect on the intensity of rectal larval infection and incidence of rectal prolapse (P>0.05).

Publication date
Country

Equine parascarosis under the tropical weather conditions of Ethiopia: a coprological and postmortem study

A cross-sectional coprological survey in the regions of Ada, Akaki, Bereh and Boset, and a retrospective postmortem investigation were conducted to study the epidemiology of Parascaris equorum in donkeys and horses in Ethiopia. Faecal samples from 803 working donkeys and 402 horses were collected, and the numbers of worms recovered from 112 donkeys examined postmortem between 1995 and 2004 were analysed. There was a high prevalence of infection and faecal egg output of Parascaris equorum in both donkeys and horses, and the severity of the infection in donkeys was increased irrespective of their age. The prevalence of the infection in the donkeys was 51·1 per cent and in the horses 16·2 per cent, and the prevalence in the donkeys examined postmortem was 55 per cent. There was no significant difference between different age groups of donkeys in either the prevalence or the intensity of the infection. The prevalence of the infection was significantly higher in the Ada and Akaki regions than in the Bereh and Boset regions.

Parascaris equorum is an important parasite of young horses, particularly sucklings and weanlings (Russell 1948, Soulsby 1982, Austin and others 1990, Southwood and others 1998). The parasite has a worldwide distribution, and is usually present wherever horses are raised (Clayton 1986, Southwood and others 1998). It can reduce the growth rate of foals and cause occasional deaths due to intestinal obstruction or rupture (Dipietro and others 1983, Clayton 1986, Ryu and others 2004).

Parascaris equorum has also been reported in donkeys from various regions of the world (Tolliver and others 1985, Vercruysse and others 1986, Pandey and Eysker 1990, Ricci and Sabatini 1992, Burgu and others 1995, Daoud and Al-Alousi 1995, Feseha 1998, Lewa and others 1998, Getachew 1999, Kotwal and others 2000, Matthee and others 2002). However, most of these reports concern only small numbers of animals, and the information is rather fragmentary. There have been no specific studies of the epidemiology, pathogenicity and immunology of parascarid infections in horses and donkeys under the tropical weather conditions of Ethiopia. The aim of the present study was to investigate the epidemiology of this parasite in working donkeys and horses in Ethiopia by means of a cross-sectional coprological survey and retrospective postmortem examination findings.

Volume
162
Issue
6
Start page
177
End page
180
Publication date
Country

Equine cestodosis: a sero-epidemiological study of Anoplocephala perfoliata infection in Ethiopia

A 12/13 kDa antigen, tapeworm ELISA test, developed for use in horses, was used to detect parasite-specific serum antibody, IgG(T), in the serum of donkeys. In a pilot study the 12/13 kDa antigen was tested and proved to detect the antibody, IgG(T), in donkey sera. Blood samples from 797 donkeys, naturally exposed to cestode infection, from four geographical localities were collected and sera were prepared and analysed. There was substantial serological evidence that donkeys were potentially infected with A. perfoliata. A range of ELISA OD values were obtained from the serological assay. Over 26% and 7.5% of the donkeys were moderately and highly infected, respectively, showing at least a 34% sero-prevalence. The rest, 66.1%, were either with low infection intensity or negative for A. perfoliata infection. The risk of infections, both in sero-prevalence and intensity, as determined by ELISA optical density (OD), were highest in the highland areas of Ethiopia where pastures are low-lying and wet, and permanent pasture management is regularly practised. Sex, age and body condition of the donkeys had no significant effect either on prevalence of the infection or on the serum antibody level. These results indicate a risk of intestinal disorders, particularly, colic, associated with A. perfoliata infection in donkeys.

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